Parc de la Barceloneta
Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta - Oriol Bohigas, 15 - 21
This broad, translucent, green space, with paved, grass and gravelled areas, spreads out beneath the Ronda del Litoral at the end of Barceloneta and serves as a communication link between the ring road and the beach. The park is organised into three large areas. The first, built around the remains of an old gas tank, is an open space that links Passeig Marítim to C/ Doctor Aiguader, while the second consists of large slopes, separated by paved paths, and the third is the site of a football pitch.
Curvy lines dominate not just the park’s paths and perimeter but also its slopes and grass parterres. All this brings considerable mellowness to a space that gradually expands as it approaches the beach, where it starts and finishes, depending on where you enter the park.
Parc de la Barceloneta lies on the site of the former Catalana de Gas factory, which was pulled down in 1989. Parts of the factory have been preserved as a reminder of one of the industries Barceloneta specialised in during the 19th century: gas.
This is a park with an abundance of Aleppo pine trees (Pinus halepensis), planted in green parterres, as well as river oaks (Casuarina cunninghamiana), which landscape the banks by the sea.
There are a good many tipu trees (Tipuana tipu) too, providing much appreciated shade in the summer, and tamarisks (Tamarix gallica), a species that is well adapted to salty environments. The park also has an impressive group of ombu trees (Phytolacca dioica) near Passeig Marítim.
As for palm trees, a constant feature of Barcelona’s seafront, the park boasts numerous fan palms (Washingtonia robusta and Washingtonia filifera) and date palms (Phoenix dactylifera).
Art and Architecture
The architects who designed the park, Jordi Henrich and Olga Tarrasó, made the most of some parts of the old gas factory, which was working here right up to 1989. They conserved the laminated steel structure of the gasometer (designed by the engineer Claudi Gil Serra in 1868) and the water tower (designed by the Modernista architect Josep Domènech i Estapà), which was built in 1905.
The third element they conserved was the factory itself, by the Passeig de Salvat Papasseit entrance. Like the water tower, this building was designed by Josep Domènech i Estapà. It was built in 1907, to house the Catalana de Gas management’s offices.
Today it houses Fàbrica del Sol, literally the “Sun Factory” and actually the Barcelona Sustainable Resources Centre, whose facilities are dedicated to environmental education.
Nearby, facing the sea, there is a monument to Simón Bolívar. It is a sculpture by Julio Maragall that was funded by the Catalan colony in Venezuela in 1996.